Windows 10 | MAP SMS/MMS Other devices

April 26, 2017

Hi guys
To be very frank, though I started using Windows 10 from the Technical Preview days & was an insider for a long time. After each build, one of the best things I loved about Windows 10 was it’s ability to identify and install the best drivers (Occasionally requiring manufacturer drivers for additional enhancements (Sound, VGA, Wifi)) even for pretty old hardware components.

With the Creators update, started reading many frustrated users complaining about missing drivers which were not so loud till build 1603. Out of curiosity, I found that almost four devices were not recognized for my almost 5 years old work laptop, a Dell Latitude E6420.

Throughout my Windows 10 experiences, I hardly bothered to find Windows 10 specific drivers from DELL support because my product is not supported for Windows 10 & the latest available are for Windows 8. Well, almost all the executables by DELL are packed in a different way that Intel drivers & extracting the packages using 7-zip didn’t always let me point the device manager to extracted files locations and pick correct drivers. Hence, I just run the executable & take a chance with almost all missing drivers.
This time after patching the way mentioned above (Which can break your system, be warned & trust me, I know what I am doing, so just lost a whole partition 2 days back) I found one item under “Other devices” & it read “MAP SMS/MMS”. I tried to locate the hardware details, which has only a long string that read something more than mere google searches could help, until I came across this post today.
2nd page of the article, user vkgupta suggests to remove connected Bluetooth devices to see whether this “Other device” disappears after the unpair process.
I unpaired my LG G3 & the “Other device” disappeared. Paired it again, letting the Other device to reappear with a ? mark once again. So, if you are another someone who is trying to “find” a proper driver for your SMS/MMS other device, give this trick a try.

Hope this helps few out there!

rajesh


Recover your corrupt VirtualBox .vdi (Virtual Disk Image)

April 9, 2017

 

Hi guys

I have 3 Windows 10 Professional licenses (Yes, paid licenses). 2 of the licenses are used in two hardware devices & the 3rd one I am using with a VirtualBox VM machine.

My semi server class desktop computer at home has approximately 4.5T storage, consolidated from different disks. My Windows10 VM is frequently factory reset to try out different software (Mostly Oracle software at uncertified environments) & the particular partition on which I had the VM was running out of space & I planned to move the VM & the disks to a different partition with bigger free space.

Scenario: Move “Windows 10” VM from L: drive to M: drive

My nightmare started when the copy process stopped abruptly with Windows popping an error window stating there were read errors while copying disk1.vdi & I attempted again to realize that the disk1.vdi is has bad sectors or clusters.

I hurried to confirm that the VM is still accessible by restarting the VM couple of times & to my greatest pleasure the VM did start, did shutdown properly and I was able to access the Oracle database installation.

Fix:

A quick googling suggested that an attempt to repair the hard disks using “CHKDSK”, the old utility could fix the .vdi corruptions & without wasting more time I jumped in

At an elevated command prompt issued the command

> chkdsk L: /F

My partition is of 1TB & after 15-16 minutes the chkdsk completed with few messages like fixing some cluster information.

I tried to copy the disk1.vdi once again to M: drive, and this time the copy process managed almost 19GB out of 29.1GB and against present me the read error.

Now, I was left with just one more option in front of me & it was to attempt recover the bad sectors, and there were chances that my virtual disk may get corrupt if the damages are more in numbers. knowing my VM is already Activated by Microsoft, I could try to reinstall Windows in a new virtual disk and retain the license as long as I am still using the other VM files as the id of the machine registered with Microsoft.

Please be informed, if you copy ONLY the vdi file, the activation will be nullified and you will be prompted to activate the copy of the Windows as soon as you start the new VM built using the copied VDI file!

So I proceeded to

>chkdsk L: /F /R

Windows suggested that it may take around 6 hrs for the repair process & I woke up next day morning to read multiple status messages about moving the corrupt sectors to new positions & some errors those could not be repaired.

I hurried to copy the disk once again & even though it seemed like forever, finally I was able to copy the disk1.vdi to M: drive!

 

So if you ever come across such a situation, give the above a try. If you are not cursed, most probably you will able to recover the virtual disk.

regards,

rajesh


Windows 10 | CreatorsUpdate| Taskbar Volume Control

April 9, 2017

Hi guys

Microsoft started pushing Windows 10 Creators Update & one of the major bugs prevents taskbar volume control responding to mouse clicks. Ie, the user cannot control the volume using the taskbar icon.

After many attempts to re-install the drivers using Windows device manager, I had to download the Windows 8.x drivers from Dell support & the manual installation helped.

So if you are too eager to checkout the Creators Update, please be sure that many of the broken drivers could not be updated using the device manager, however using manufacturer provided driver packages. You can download the drivers for Windows 8.x & unzip the packages using 7-Zip and point to the extracted location incase if the package says it cannot install by normal terms.

Hope this helps few out there!

regards,

rajesh


Windows | ORA-12560: TNS:protocol adapter error

February 25, 2017

Hi guys

Not many DBAs prefer Windows for their Oracle databases. Linux is most preferred by most of them & most of the DBAs I know setup the bash profile under Oracle user to setup the environment during each logon to the server.

Our legacy business application database runs on Windows 2003 & trust me, we never had a single database crash (Other than the physical hardware failure that forced us to recover the database once). Depending upon how huge the database and application, the choices for hosting the Oracle database differ from one business to other.

We decided to upgrade our Oracle 10g 10.1.x.x 32Bit database to 11g R2 & as usual I have replicated the environment using my home semi-server class desktop, before the Production environment at work.

Installed 10g 32Bit, created the database using dump export file (The total size of the database is less than 7GB, hence I avoided the hectic RMAN backup and restore part)

  1. Configured RMAN against the new database & made full backup for archive logs and database.
  2. Installed 11g 11.2.0.4 64Bit database (Software Only installation)
  3. Created a new Windows Service using oradim
  4. Restored the database from RMAN backups & upgraded the database to 11g

So far so good. I had to restart the computer & after rechecking the database was up and running, tried to access the instance using sqlplus & was presented with

ORA-12560: TNS:protocol adapter error

REG_SID_MISSING

I setup ORACLE_SID=SID at the CMD window & sqlplus was happy after that.

Usually, Windows doesn’t need environment variables set exclusively for the database as Windows registry takes care of it. This is very efficient when the box has only one database running. If you have more than one database or multiple Oracle homes, the scenario changes.

In addition to, Oracle always looks for the executable based on the PATH information it reads. For example my box has 10g,11g,12c database software installed without any databases created during the installation time.

Let us consider the scenario like I didn’t re-order the PATH entries after the latest installation of 12c & try to open SQL or RMAN. The call will find the executable from 12c path entry BIN as default, and a beginner could have enough confusions due to it.

In my case, I needed my 10g instance first, hence I moved the 10g folder as the 1st entry for Oracle products, and once I finished with 10g moved 11g home folder to the 1st position.

SID_Missing

Anyway, after confirming the path settings, my immediate attention was towards registry, as Oracle services completely depend upon the registry values for each service registered.

To my utter surprise, found the 11g Service entry didn’t have ORACLE_SID string created during the instance creation using ORADIM.exe

REG_SID_MISSING

Oracle 11g 11.2.0.4 has a huge bug list and interim patches those should be applied before moving to Production instance. I really don’t know whether the missing ORACLE_SID string entry was due to one of such bugs.

So I stopped the Oracle service, added ORACLE_SID string entry with the value for my database

REG_SID_ADD

Restarted the service & sqlplus connected to the instance happily without setting up the environment variable like set ORACLE_SID=SIDNAME

REG_SID_ADDED

While the easiest solution is to setup both ORACLE_HOME, ORACLE_SID when someone wants to use the sqlplus or RMAN exclusively as a part of the database access, the above method is a definite way to deal with “ORA-12560: TNS:protocol adapter error”

regards,

rajesh


Migrating Oracle developer 6i applications to Windows 2008 R2

October 13, 2016

Hi guys

Even though my blog has reached 600k+ visits, I am one of those “lucky” tech bloggers who is hardly reached through emails for some specific tips and helps.

One of the recent were about migrating from Developer 6i developed web deployment to Windows 2008 R2, and the asker decided to approach me through email after reading my post about installing Developer 6i suite on Windows 7 and later OS

There were many emails until I realized they have a web deployment! Using Developer 6i & I was truly impressed. Developer 6i setup was one of the toughest, when I tried it by 2004-2005 period and I truly given up once after a number of failures to setup it properly and “googling” wasn’t as efficient as today when a single search fetches you hundreds of blog posts those explain such setups minutely so that a beginner can, without sweating much could, almost setup anything!

The hacks I posted with my blog towards installing Developer 6i on Windows 7/later and Windows Servers did have it’s own drawbacks. Many of the Oracle products like Oracle graphs doesn’t work with the .dll hacks & we experienced unexpected crashes and I have made sure that I did warn the enthusiasts about them with my blog. Did it stop people from taking risks? I don’t think so

Our legacy Oracle database server hardware was 14 years old when we decided to finally decommission it. Many places around the world businesses never listen to the Administrators complaining about the age of hardware and how difficult it is to maintain obsolete hardware and software. Oracle database(proprietary) must be one of the widely used database without proper licensing and I hardly believe many small organizations will ever pay the unbelievable prices Oracle tries to extract from customers when they want to do proper licensing. Many of those environments may have new admins and the entire development teams dispersed or the software company that has developed the software diversified and started selling fish. Anyway, my asker’s situation was not far different. His hardware was obsolete and the company has brought him a new hardware with 4GB memory and he was desperately looking for a method to migrate from his Windows 2003 server to Windows 2008 R2 server

Can you/should you take risks by trying to migrate to a newer OS because there are “few hacks” available over internet?

I work as information technology manager and I will not let it happen, knowing and after having bad experiences. Instead I will try to find better solutions, like converting your Windows 2003 physical machine into a Virtual Machine and going online from a newer hardware and OS

Mr. Asker’s scenario

Windows 2003 Server with Developer 6i Web deployment and Oracle database 10g and his hardware has just 2GB memory!

His requirement

Want to start using the new hardware and Windows 2008 R2. Can’t take risks

My suggestion to him

  1. Use VMWare’s P2V converter, Convert the legacy server into a VM
  2. From the new hardware, run the VM

While I am NOT at all happy with the 4GB physical memory, I will suggest anyone who wants to go with such an approach to upgrade their hardware to have minimum 8GB so that the Windows 2008 R2 can reserve 4GB for itself, 3GB maximum for the 32Bit Windows 2003 Server and tweaking the Oracle database SGA to 40% of from the 3GB reserved for the VM!

Let us consider the few advantages of converting legacy hardware to virtual machines quickly

  1. One can always take a full backup of the VM, based on mission criticality, in addition to the database backups. Such backups will help the administrators to restore the whole “machine”, if something goes drastically wrong
  2. No headaches to figure out how the deployment was made, especially when there are hardly any documentations available explaining the setups

My asker got so excited that he stopped answering my consequent mails checking about progresses. That’s the downside of free consultancy in most of the cases. Oh well, that was not my first experience anyway. This year itself I helped someone to setup a 12c environment and when he was online, he told me how he had tears in his eyes and later he stopped answering my calls Winking smile

I hope I made some sense with this post and if you are someone who is frantically looking for a way to “Migrate” without risking much, give it a try. Have comments or need more clarifications? Use the comments area to let me know about them.

 

regards,

rajesh


Windows 10 | Cumulative Update KB3194496

October 10, 2016

 

Few weeks back I have decided to stop receiving the insider builds for Windows 10 as I hardly found anything interesting that needs such huge volumes of downloads and my precious time! (A bit prudish here). Well it was all easy…not entirely. Even after leaving the Insider program for this particular PC, I kept watching the Windows Update program trying to download the subsequent builds and miserably failing to install them. Fortunately for me, this PC is mostly used as a media center, hooked to my TV.

To stop receiving the newer builds, I unlinked my Live account finally and deleted the C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution folder after disabling Windows Update for a short period.

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Then I realized that I had this issue with a cumulative update KB3194496! Each time I tried update, the lengthy process will fail with “we couldn’t complete the updates, undoing changes.”

After few days search, I came across this link through “Bing”, the greatest search engine EVAR invented by a man!

Though there were many other POSTs explaining some different types of fixes, I opted to go with the solution provided by Microsoft, running a small .msi file downloaded from this link

I had a reason for choosing this fix, as I “was” an Insider while the patch was downloaded and failed the first time. Whatever, after running the .msi and answer with “A” to the prompt in the command line, I downloaded and installed the update without any issues. You may try the same, if you are/were an Insider!

 

regards,

rajesh


Windows 10 | Control your Windows Updates

October 10, 2016

 

We have relatively small network & upgraded all possible candidates to Windows 10 professional edition during the free upgrade period, to realize that our 15MBPS (Okay stop mocking us) fiber optic connection was choked & almost no browsing was possible as almost all the machines started downloading the updates. Our WSUS server cannot handle the Windows 10 unless upgraded and we were frantically searching for a method to stop the client machines directly downloading the updates & came across many beautiful blog posts those systematically explained how we could use group policies to control how the clients download updates.

One of the best posts we adopted for our network is available here

We tried the group policy workaround with few of the laptops in the IT and we were able to stop those automatic download of end number of updates those Microsoft pushed everyday to address the numerous issues they were not even able to fix with the anniversary update!

As a user with administrator privileges, start the local group policy editor.

 

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Navigation –> Computer Configuration->Administrative Templates->Windows Components->Windows Update

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Find “Configure Automatic Updates” and open it.

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Here you can choose, suitable for your situation. For me, notifications are fine & then I decide when I should download the updates.

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Close the Group policy update MSC (Microsoft System Console) and you are all set. From next reboot, you will be given notifications about the downloads, rather than automatically start downloading and clogging your internet connection.

(If you are always connected to WIFI, you can use the “Metered” connection trick to avoid downloading updates automatically. As this trick is not applicable for Ethernet connections, I am not getting into detailed how to this time)

Important Note: You may forget to download and apply the much needed updates, so make sure you will never stop looking at the notification panel for update related.

Regards,

rajesh